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May 20 2008

Of shells and memories triggered by strange mp3s

I did a lot of thinking, as is my particular modus operandi, while driving to and from one of my company’s sites yesterday, and committed to writing a nice big blog post about it once I got home.  I didn’t do so immediately, but at least I’m doing it now.  But first, some background is necessary as to what triggered all this.

The company I work for has a number of sites across the Maritimes, and two in Ontario. I’m responsible for one of them here in Nova Scotia. For the past two months, due to an unceremonious dismissal, we’ve been without an IT representative at a nearby site. I have been covering as many duties as I could remotely, and have taken several trips down to take care of what needed to actually be done hands-on. Yesterday, I took another such road trip to the other site, but it was more a relief than a burden — I went specifically to train up the newly hired IT manager.

While I love that I’ve been given a lot more responsibility at work over the past year — more responsibility means the Corporate Masters are pleased with your performance, don’t forget! — I have to admit, it has been trying at times. I’ll be grateful to have a few less duties on my shoulders, even knowing full well that I’ll just heft another thing or two up there of my own accord.  I just hope that this new team member works out okay.

For the drive to the other site, to keep from going mad given our current dearth of radio variety here in the Valley (our choices are presently limited to country radio, CBC classical, and a particularly infuriating station that claims “we play everything” but in fact has a very limited selection of 70s-2000s top-40 hits that seems to cycle through the same artists repeatedly), I had set up my laptop to play my personal collection of MP3s. Having forgotten my FM tuner, to broadcast the tunes to the car stereo, this setup was particularly cumbersome and not of very good (or loud) sound quality, but it was much better than the choices offered by the radio. Granted, an mp3 player would have been less cumbersome, but I can’t at the moment afford the mp3 players whose features I’m particularly interested in.

At any rate, at one point in the drive, a dance cover of Supertramp’s Logical Song by Scooter came up. I’m not much for dance songs, but that song has special significance to me. Many years ago, I was a member of an internet community built around a 2D fighting game engine called MUGEN. The community itself is still around, though the engine’s creators have long since disappeared without a trace. (Caveat: Elecbyte’s site was recently reinstated, however they have not to my knowledge made any effort to resume releasing MUGEN, instead suggesting people use clones of the original game engine.)  During this time, I of course fell in with the slightly more sarcastic, politically incorrect, and otherwise brilliant group of troublemakers that started out as the denizens of the forum MUGEN Being, and over time took many forms, the last of which (during my stay in the community anyway) being a group called MUGEN Revolution.  This sub-culture of the greater MUGEN community had its own sub-culture influenced by pro wrestling, due to many of the more sardonic members also coincidentally being smarks — “smart marks” — people who realize wrasslin’s entertainment moreso than sport, staged, pre-ordained in its outcomes.  For a while, on the forum for our little cadre of neer-do-wells, we had a pro-wrestling “fantasy league”, where we took turns creating matches, promos, and an ongonig storyline for our personal characters, some of which in sort of “story round” format — where we’d take turns posting the next chunk of the action.  One of the people I connected with on those forums was Jared, who used that Scooter dance song as his entrance theme.  He was probably the most off-putting of the whole lot of us — he’d sooner call someone an idiot to their faces than compliment them on a particularly clever bit of code.  Yet, for some reason, he and I actually started talking, and the bugger even helped me overcome some particularly tough crossroads.

I also got to thinking about how we’ve basically lost touch.  And how he’s not the only very close friend I’ve had, with whom I’ve either lost all contact, or who I don’t talk to nearly as much as I’d like any more.  For some reason or another, I retreat back into a shell in cycles.  I can’t predict the period or intensity of these cycles, but I do remember every single person I used to have as a really close friend, and every now and then, I grieve.  I especially grieve over the relationships that have dissolved mostly due to my own actions. I know that, if you’re being perfectly honest with yourself, this happens to all of us, but I have to wonder if maybe it happens to me more often than most people.  Which is why I felt the need to write all this out.

So, I now say to all of you that were especially important to me over the years, in no particular order — Robert, Diane, Krista, Jared, Deuce, WBJ, Sunboy, Abby, Clifton, Murray, Ian, Erin, Mitchell, Nathalie, Carrie, Kyle, Brenda, Jay, Carine, Alex, and heaven help me if I’ve forgotten anyone over the years — I’m deeply sorry that we haven’t kept in touch, and if I don’t happen to talk to you again, thank you for everything.

And to those of you that are close with me now, if the time comes that we inevitably start to drift apart, for whatever reason, know that I retreat into this shell not out of malice or lack of caring.  I just, for whatever reason, have a tendency to drift into and out of people’s lives whenever the stars, or what have you, dictate.

One day our paths may cross again.  Until then, peace.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    jason.pickles

    Awww…can I get a hug?

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Wouldn’t you rather have a beer instead?

    Well, I won’t dissuade you if you really want a hug that badly. Just promise not to grab my ass again.

  3. 3
    jason.pickles

    I make no such promises.
    Mmm…beer.

  4. 4
    slajax

    Awww J. You emo kid! you’ll never be far from me! we’re only an interweb apart!

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